Hungry Ghost Festival
have probably heard of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Have you also
heard about the less well-known Hungry Ghost Festival?
as the Americans has the Halloween, the Chinese have their version
of a ghost festival too. This year, Year 2007, the festival of
hungry ghost starts on the 13th of August to 10th September of
mostly in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and especially in Singapore
and Malaysia, the Hungry Ghost festival is a
mixed Taoist/ folklore occasion that is taken very seriously
by the Chinese. This festival
falls on the 7th month of the Lunar Year and is believed
by the Chinese that during this month, the gates of hell are
opened to let out the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food
Chinese families would celebrate this festival to remember their
dead family members and pay tribute to them. At the same time,
they also pray and pay tributes to other unknown wandering
so that these homeless souls will not intrude into their
daily life and bring along misfortunes or bad luck.
Offerings of food and burning of 'hell money' are
very common during the Hungry Ghost Month
is the festival celebrated?
Another belief among the Chinese is that the dead return to visit
their living relatives during the 7th month and thus
the living family would prepare a sumptuous meal for the ‘hungry
The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the ghosts in order
to get good fortune and luck in their lives.
the 7th month celebrations, the Chinese offer prayers to the
deceased relatives, burn joss sticks, paper money and offer food.
In Singapore and Malaysia, it is a common sight to see
wayang’ or Chinese Opera and concerts performed on outdoor
stages in some neighborhoods. These events are always held at
night and are loud affairs with singing, operas, dances all performed
at super high volume. There is a belief that this loud entertainment
would attract and please those wandering
may be filled
take note that the front row seats are always left empty for...
you guess it, the unseen ghosts! Woe to the ignorant who take up
the coveted front seats during the show!
belief for the hungry ghost festival
An interesting superstition that the Chinese have about
the festival is that it is bad to go swimming during
the 7th month. They think that an evil ghost might cause you
to drown in the swimming pool. In addition to
this, children are also advised to return home early
and not to wander around alone at night. This belief
is that the wandering ghosts may possess children.
Thus, it is not surprising that swimming pools, beaches, shopping
malls, cinemas, bowling alleys, parks and other public places will
suffer a big dip in customers during this month. This is also a
to get married, start a business, move house or even to travel.
Plane, bus tickets and hotel rates tend to be at their lowest peak
during this month!
Offerings to the Dead
The Chinese also do a lot of offerings to the deceased.
These offerings are made by burning fake money
notes, which are also known as ‘hell money’ and
even paper television or radio sets. Some families also burn
paper houses & cars to give to their dead relatives.
The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the
ghosts and help them live comfortably in their new world.
Chinese regard the 15th day of the 7th Lunar
month as an important date to give a feast to the ghosts. On
cook a lot of dishes and offer them to the deceased.
This is done to please the ghosts and also to gain good luck
for the family. 15 days after the feast, the festival will be
as the Chinese believe
that the ghostswill return back to where they come from after a month
is.... until the
next Lunar 7th month.
more information about Chinese way of life, check out this interesting China
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